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The No. 1 Leadership Habit Has Nothing To Do With Managing, Hiring Or Communication

By Tommy Mello, owner of A1 Garage Doors, a $100M+ home service business. Sharing what I’ve learned to help other entrepreneurs scale.

In my experience, the best leadership habit isn’t related to leadership—or even business! What do I mean by that? When people think about becoming better leaders, they often think, “How can I hire better people?” or “How can I communicate more persuasively?” But here’s my take on it: The best habit a leader can create is to exercise on a regular basis.

Now, this isn’t about being a certain size or lifting a certain amount—although there are plenty of instances where working toward these goals is perfectly reasonable. What I’m talking about are the physical and mental benefits that come from moving your body consistently, benefits that can improve how you lead your team. Research has proven that exercise can boost energy levels, improve sleep quality, combat depression and anxiety and improve memory. Just ask yourself: How would your leadership style change if you had more energy? A better memory? Less anxiety? Think of the possibilities!

When I say this, people tend to go “I know, but I don’t have time, Tommy!” Listen, most entrepreneurs don’t “have time.” I run a business that has expanded into 20 states, and I’m constantly reading and thinking up new business ideas. But I make time for exercising because it’s that important to me on a personal and business level. Here’s how you can prioritize it, too.

1. Understand what motivates you to work out.

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Becoming the best version of myself—mind, body, spirit, work and personal—is what inspires me to work out consistently. That might not be what gets you up in the morning. Ask yourself the following questions and visualize the before/after difference in your mind: What would it be like to be fitter? Healthier? How would your business and life be different as a result?

2. Find an enjoyable physical activity.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a pain. For example, I love walking. So, I walk my dog Finnegan in the morning for 30 to 40 minutes. On the weekends, I go for a lot of walks, and I also try to play some type of physical sports. What physical activity do you already enjoy? Start with that. If you aren’t sure, just make a list and try each of them out!

3. Set up a home gym.

If you want to up your workout game, consider the idea of having a home gym. That destroys your excuse that “the gym is too far away,” and makes it so much more convenient for you to work out whenever you want.

Your home gym setup doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The gym in my home office has some dumbbells, a workout bench, a back pull machine and a treadmill. You can just start with dumbbells or whatever gym equipment you’re most comfortable with and build from there.

4. Identify your best time of the day for exercise.

There’s no best time to work out. Some people prefer mornings. Others enjoy exercising at night. I usually do mine in the middle of the day. Experiment working out at different times. Once you figure out what works best, schedule that into your calendar. Make that a top business priority.

5. Find accountability to stay truly consistent.

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Motivation will die down, and that’s why we all need that extra bit of support (and kick in the butt). For me, I work with a trainer three to four days a week. And for my employees, we have hired a coaching team to help people get healthy—be it helping them quit smoking cigarettes or drink less often—and ultimately accomplish all their dreams. We’re pushing our employees to be the best version of themselves.

Now, you don’t necessarily need a physical trainer or coach. Finding a friend or family member to work out with—in-person or virtually—can be just the right amount of motivation to keep going.

Get started now.

Yes, I’ve been selling you the “why” and “how” of exercise, but still, I feel that I’m underselling it. At the end of the day, leadership is about energy. If you want to effectively communicate with your team or solve a business challenge, you need to give it your 110%—and exercise can give you the energy boost you need.

So, will you make the time? The choice is yours.

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